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Fabricated Thoughts from Metro Sign and Awning

Metro Sign & Awning’s latest blog posts, white papers, videos, expert advice and commentary. Learn more about the features of our innovative blog here.

 

Designing for Human Behavior: Details Contribute to Safety, Successful End Results

Designing for Human Behavior: Details Contribute to Safety, Successful End Results
Metro Sign and Awning's insight:

This article is especially relevant as summer is the festival and concert season. But every day, all year, highly visible signage that communicates clearly is an important safety factor. This is true of both interior and exterior signage. 

The article also points out a critical flaw in much design work: too often, products are designed based on computer and cost models but in they can fail to take into account human behavior and real-world conditions.

Computer models have improved the design process in many ways, but to achieve a successful end result - and to maximize ROI - designs must be reviewed for form, function, and the all-important human factor. Myriad details go into the architecture and design of new buildings and into redevelopment projects as well. While specifying hundreds (or thousands) of signs to deliver a complete signage pack can be tedious, we've had the good fortune to work with many thoughtful architects and developers who appreciate our thorough approach to ensure each sign is clearly helpful to humans, and also helps meet overall design goals. 



Article Excerpt:

"Provide highly visible signage at all points where occupants have a choice in direction.... Many architects follow long-standing best practices when designing commercial buildings. However, studies conducted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks revealed something disturbing: Best practices are based on computer modeling. And computer models are based on the assumption that people will behave in a logical, predictable manner in an emergency."


How Many Buildings in the World are LEED Platinum Certified?

How Many Buildings in the World are LEED Platinum Certified?
Metro Sign and Awning's insight:

We've followed LEED and related architectural and design concepts for years, and always operated with a goal of finding the most efficient operational methods that are effective while having the lowest impact on natural and other resources. Expect to hear more from us on the subject in the coming months. In the meantime, we'd love to hear from our clients and partners, how are you working to make the most efficient use of time and materials? 



Article Excerpt:

Out of the estimated 6,633 LEED Platinum buildings in existence today (and undoubtedly many more to come), we've highlighted 10 notable buildings that achieved a LEED certification.


Phillip Tutor: A Whopper of a sign in Anniston

Phillip Tutor: A Whopper of a sign in Anniston
Metro Sign and Awning's insight:

Here's a Whopper of a sign story. In our experience, there are two key ideas to making your own signage story a shorter one. 

Food For Thought

Communication, well-coordinated planning throughout the design review process, and compromise when needed typically results in getting the right sign, the first time. The earlier that coordinated communication begins in the design review process, the better. This is why we like to be involved in the architectural design phase of a project, so we can help prevent a situation in which a new sign needs to be reworked, or replaced, so soon after its initial installation.

As the author also points out, sign aesthetics are important and sometimes, public opinion weighs in on a project when it is nearly completed. In such a case, of course, communication and compromise, again, are the keys to getting a resolution everyone can be happy with. 

Experienced signage professionals understand that the size, material, and aesthetics of a sign are not the only things to be considered in a construction or develoment project. When the court of public opinion is in session, you want a signage partner who is skilled at communication and compromise, as well as versed in working with planning and zoning officials. 

 



Article Excerpt:

There’s a new Burger King going up in Golden Springs, Anniston’s over-the-mountain suburb. Everyone’s seen it. There’s a giant playground. There are trees and landscaping. The sign itself, however, makes for a Whopper of a story.


Commercial Signage is Always on the Job

Commercial Signage is Always on the Job
Metro Sign and Awning's insight:

Ooooh! Typography Tourism? This tour described in this article sounds like fun to us - a "busman's holiday," you might say. And while summer is a great time to vacation, signs don't take time off. 

A Sign's Job is Never Done

At Metro, we approach each signage project with an artistic eye, and aim to create the most visually appealing signs that are, at the same time, perfectly clear in doing their job. 

And a sign's job is never done. Day and night, signs advertise, inform, define cities and their developments, direct traffic, and often, have other functional elements. Think about awnings and enclosures, retractable screens, signs that double as exterior lighting for businenss patrons... signs just don't take time off. Typography is a unique ingredient in signage. While typography is fundamental to the overall aesthetic of a sign and how well it communicates, let's be honest - no one really notices it. (Except sign designers, that is. We spend a lot of time talking about typography.) 

Commercial Signage - from Berlin to Boston

While the images in this article offer something of a virtual tour of attractive European signs, to those of us in the sign design and typography world, it's a study in communication styles and branding elements. (We really do look at the world through a signage lens.) Incorporating brand and style elements into the confines of a sign takes much more than an artist's eye - it takes the planning and precision of engineers and the deep knowledge of materials that experienced fabricators have. Commercial signage is heavily regulated around the world, from Berlin to Boston - and for that reason, sign planning and design should begin early in the architectural planning process whenever possible.

Looking for signage that's beautiful, functional, and will stand the test of time? Contact Metro SIgn & Awning. We take pride in our designs and it shows.   



Article Excerpt:

From Berlin to Boston, typography helps signage share the message 


Sign Ordinances Affect Full Scope of Planning and Design Process

Sign Ordinances Affect Full Scope of Planning and Design Process
Metro Sign and Awning's insight:

Signage regulations on the Planning Board agenda again? Decisions made in those meetings often have broad implications.

As this article points out, signage " ... is a complicated issue as it deals directly with the First Amendment of the Constitution and is a result of a ruling in the Supreme Court Case of Reed vs. Gilbert in 2015."  The court's ruling on the Reed vs. Gilbert case clarified when municipalities may impose content-based restrictions on signage.

Understanding how local municipalities enforce signage regulations is one thing; working with local officials to develop and fulfill the community's vision for all types of signage and visual communication is quite another thing. 

From the architectural planning process to design, permitting. fabrication and installation, we consider the long-term impact and life of the sign. It starts with how signage communicates and builds our client's brand, but it doesn't stop there. In each phase we also consider how the signage plays in the larger commercial development, and within the community.  

We've worked in the signage industry long enough to understand the broader issues and implications that are often lurking behind local signage decisions, as well as our clients' design considerations, from branding to the budget's bottom-line. Want that kind of expertise on your next development project? Contact us. 



Article Excerpt:

Attend a Planning Board meeting almost anywhere and you may be reminded of the catchy 1970s song lyrics, "signs, signs everywhere a sign." In fact, much Planning Board business revolves around local sign ordinances...and how they are interpreted in light of the US Constitution. 


Text Walking and Distracted Pedestrians - can better signage help?

Text Walking and Distracted Pedestrians - can better signage help?
Metro Sign and Awning's insight:

Cities aiming to be pedestrian-friendly have never faced more challenges. Distracted walking fines proposed in some U.S. cities, no-cell-phone walking lanes in others...is this what we mean by "Downtown Experience?" When we work with developers on wayfinding projects (in fact, all projects) our designs always begin by considering the human factor.

While wayfinding and pedestrian-friendly signage must be clear, functional, and helpful, it also needs to be durable, particularly  as it's usally outside, exposed to the elements 24/7. But in downtown development projects, on campuses, in corporate settings, and everywhere signage is, it's also playing an integral part in brand identity and development activities. (Most city visitor's guides, for example, feature signage prominently in their advertising, online and off.) 

With all types of interior wayfinding, room identification signs, and other pedestrian-friendly signage, the designers, fabricators and installers must ensure that the signs are ADA compliant as well. This set of challenges (and sometimes competing priorities) is what motivates us and it inspires some very creative solutions. While working with our clients to deliver the best possible signage solutions for each set of criteria, from creating the design spec to installing the finished product, our team is constantly considering how the finished product will meet the demands of the real world, while best representing our client's brand. 

Contact us to discuss how your signage can respond to the myriad demands placed on it today. 



Article Excerpt:

The dangers and accidents from text walking. Navigating and wayfinding in the presence of text walkers. Text-only lanes for pedestrians? Hello, 2018. 


Creative Car Graphics and Vehicle Marketing Ideas for Local Businesses

Creative Car Graphics and Vehicle Marketing Ideas for Local Businesses
Metro Sign and Awning's insight:

This article suggests using humor and catchy slogans on vehicle wraps. And while getting smiles out of prospects is good, when it comes to vehicle wraps, we advocate for eye-catching graphics and prominent websites and/or phone numbers. It's 2018 - your prospects are busier than ever, and you need to make the most of your advertising budget! Seeing your vehicle wrap should serve as a bold, memorable prompt to search for your company online.

Like all other signage, your message on a vehicle wrap needs to be as visually compelling and easy-to-remember as possible. 

While impressions are high with vehicle wraps, remember that other drivers usually have just a second or two to notice and register your message. (Of course, there is beauty in the relatively captive audience you'll have at stoplights!) When your vehicle is parked, a professionally designed and fabricated wrap may inspire a prospect to take a quick picture of the vehicle. 

In fact...we've known of some savvy business owners who encourage people to post photos of their vehicles on social media channels, tagging the ocmpany - who then shares the posts. Talk about getting a little extra mileage out of those advertising investments! 

Get it? A little extra mileage ... out of your vehicle wrap?   #punintended

Find out more about vehicle wraps here or call us at (978) 401-9533 with your questions. 



Article Excerpt:

Realtors, local sales reps and small businesses can turn their cars and delivery vehicles into attention-grabbing mobile billboards with vehicle wraps, graphics or decals for memorable advertising and branding impressions in a local market territory A vehicle marketing strategy for your local business could be as simple as using inexpensive door magnets and decals, or as specialized and…


Attract guests with outdoor dining, year-round

Attract guests with outdoor dining, year-round
Metro Sign and Awning's insight:

It's not *quite* al fresco dining season in Boston but we're pretty sure most local restaurant patrons will jump on the first opportunity to have lunch on the patio. Is your awning in good shape? Is it time to update or replace it? According to the National Restaurant Association, patios and enclosures should be updated and revamped every 5 -7  years. And based on the winter we've endured, we think Boston-area restaurants should be ready to accommodate their guests who have spring fever! 

High-quality awnings, canopies and enclosures create additional revenue opportunities for restaurants as well as banks, retail shops and service providers. 

For ideas to update your outdoor seating options, see our Awning & Enclosures portfolio

Awnings for Restaurants, Retailers Good for Business & Customers

At Metro Sign & Awning, we work with general contractors, property managers, and business owners to design, permit, construct and install barriers that can protect guests from New England weather. These structures, which like signs often advertise the business and brand, are usually planned with the goal of extending their summer season (and increasing revenue). Awnings, canopies and enclosures can often be shown to not only increase revenue, but also, because they offer protection from the elements, they can help reduce heating, cooling, and cleaning costs for the business as well. 

Awnings and entrance canopies can also provide a completely new look for a building facade, adding color and aesthetic appeal as well as enhancing the brand. 

And these are not your father's awnings! Modern materials are durable, UV-resistant, and can accept intricate, colorful logo designs and other graphics. Learn more about today's awning and canopy materials, and designs that make the most of your space, structure and budget: Awning shapes, designs and materials 

We also design and install retractable awnings for Boston-area businesses! 

Contact us here or call  (978) 401-9533 to discuss the many options you have for business awnings, canopies, and enclosures.



Article Excerpt:

Patios aren’t just for summer. With heat lamps, cozy blankets and fireplaces or fire pits, restaurants can capitalize on additional seating any time of the year.


Council adopts sign rules: Panel votes to block billboards along Grand Ave., Loop 303

Council adopts sign rules: Panel votes to block billboards along Grand Ave., Loop 303
Metro Sign and Awning's insight:

A recent ruling in the city of Surprise, AZ may not set off alarms in the greater business community (or signage industry) but we see a number of important lessons to be learned from this article, and the process it describes. We invite you to read it - and don't be surprised when you hear more from us on the subject of planning,  zoning, and sign design. We could write a book based on our experience, just from here in New England! 



Article Excerpt:

By Matt Roy, Independent Newsmedia - City leaders last week passed signs rules, a move that may help some local businesses, but not those hoping to erect billboards in the community.…


Outdoor Signage is Advertising that Drives Traffic, online and off

Outdoor Signage is Advertising that Drives Traffic, online and off
Metro Sign and Awning's insight:

Outdoor signage, particularly vehicle wraps and large, attention-grabbing exterior building signs, are often overlooked in marketing budgets. Ironically, they are consistently high-payoff investments, driving local search and traffic, both online and off. Translation: you want customers in real life? Make sure your signage is showing them the way! 



Article Excerpt:

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